Real Global Temperature Trend, p22 – World still on course for dramatic 3 degrees warming, need to more than double reduction speed

Let’s keep this one short, because in essence there’s nothing new. Before the start of the Paris climate summit we saw that if you combine all the world’s nations’ 2025 & 2030 emission reduction targets you get to a pathway of around a 860 ppm CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas concentration. By the year 2030 that’s already a 19 gigatonne emissions gap compared to the 2 degrees climate target – and a 25 gigatonne emissions gap compared to the newly adopted 1.5 degrees target.

That is if countries actually deliver on their reduction pledges. During the climate conference there were no increases in national targets – although the world did agree on a higher ambition for the whole: “holding global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and to “pursue efforts” to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

Well – the below graph sums up where exactly we’re standing:

3 degrees warming
Bridge this gap. If we add all the pledges we’re not even halfway between business as usual and 2 degrees, let alone 1.5 degrees.

The graph comes from a new study that was published in Nature yesterday that was performed by a group of scientists from 12 established climate policy institutions – lead by Michel den Elzen of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency PBL and Niklas Höhne of Wageningen University.

The authors have reassessed all (PDF) the individual Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) of the UNFCCC member states – essentially the pledged emission reduction for either 2025 of 2030.

The graph actually says it all. Even if we combine all the different types of pledges (current policies, unconditional INDCs, conditional INDCs) we’re still short of halfway between business as usual and the 2 degrees target – let alone the target of staying “well below” 2 degrees, aiming for 1.5.

“Substantial enhancement or over-delivery on current INDCs by additional national, sub-national and non-state actions is required to maintain a reasonable chance of meeting the target of keeping warming well below 2 degrees Celsius,” the authors conclude.

Work to be done.

© Rolf Schuttenhelm |

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